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Apple Mail Empty Archive Mailbox

Problem. You are working on reviewing the e-mail messages that you’ve archived over the past few years and suddenly for no reason they all disappear. You use the rebuild option found in the Mailbox menu and it doesn’t recover the messages. The messages were stored on your local computer and now seem to be all lost.

Solution. The index of the messages may have become corrupted in a way that isn’t easily fixed by the rebuild feature. Try these steps to recover your messages:

  1. Exit the Apple Mail program.
  2. On your hard drive, go to Users > Your User Name > Library > Mail > Mailboxes > Archive > Foldername With Lost Messages.
  3. Look in the foldername.mbox > Messages folder and hopefully there will be a lot of files ending in .emlx showing. These are your saved messages. Make a backup copy of this folder right away. You can do this by holding down the alt/option key and then (while holding the alt/option key) clicking and dragging the folder to another location. Once it is copied somewhere else, rename the folder (the one that is in the original location).
  4. Start the mail program again. It will find this new folder. You will probably need to rebuild this new folder and then, hopefully the messages will appear again.
Categorized as Technology

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com